Tuesday, December 02, 2008

ALKALIZE and ENERGIZE! - Thriving through the Holiday Season

It's about that time of the year when family and freinds are a priority, Turkeys are landing on your plate and holiday parties seem to never end. It's also the time when workouts are more easily missed and we tend to put on a couple of pounds so that our new year's resolution is more profound.

The problem is that this extended semi vacation can have some serious detrimental effects on our health, here are some reasons around why this happens:

1. Overall food consumption goes up so caloric balance is tipped into the positive more, so we store more fat.

2. The type of food is the overcooked, oversweetened, refined variety, washed down with more alcohol than usual (if you don't drink alcohol, then watch those spritzers, sodas, juices and apple cider drinks) - The effect of this is that we are eating enzyme dead food, so there is a huge burden on the body to try to digest these foods, leading to a overall drop in energy and immunity, which in turn leads to a lack of drive to exercise and a higher susceptibility to getting sick. Lastly, the above mentioned foods are generally acidic and reduce the overall pH of the body.

3. We get less sunlight exposure - Vitamin D levels drop, melatonin goes out of what and Seasonal Affective disorder can start to slowly manifest.

4. "Structured" hydration decreases (I'll delve further into structured hydration later in this post). Due to the cold weather, we are naturally inclined to drink less pure water and in addition reach for warmer "comfort" drinks that are often caffeine based and have a diuretic effect on the body.

Alkalize and Energize through the Holiday Season.

Follow these steps and you are assured a more pleasurable and healthy holiday season as well as a headstart on your new year's resolutions around your health.

1. Holiday Meals:
When attending a holiday event centered around food, here are some methods for miniziming two detrimental effects in the body, Insulin response and Acidity:

a. Drink strucutured water before you leave home and green drink too, to keep you alkaline. This will also create a health conscious mindset before the event itself and you'll have less of a desire to indulge in refined, fatty carbohydrates.

b. When you start eating, start with the most fibrous food first if available, then move onto the protien part of the meal and then let the carbs creep in if you must.

c. at dessert time if you still have space and really want that dessert, go for the least processed, highest fat dessert. This will again work to reduce insulin response. DO NOT eat a bunch of Fruit after a large meal, it will just sit in your gut and rot.

2. Digestive Enzymes - if you don't already use digestive enzymes, this might be a good time to start, to help your body deal with all the enzyme-dead food you are more likely to eat at this time of the year. Digestive enzymes are great because they reduce the burden on your body to produce enzymes to digest food - this means you digest your food better and faster and your body can spend the extra resources on other stuff like muscle repair or making your immune system stronger. I have used a ton of enzymes on the market and my favorite ones are:

- Enriching gifts: http://www.enrichinggifts.com/
- Enzymatic Therapy: Meal Time Enzymes
- Enzymedica: Digest Gold
- Renew Life: Digest More and Digest More Ultra

3. Structured Hydration - simply drinking tons of water is not a bad idea, but this is better. When you wake up in the morning, first thing, squeeze a half or whole lemon into a 16oz glass of water ( I use distilled water via my home distiller), then add a 1/4 tsp of himalayan crystal salt to that water, stir and enjoy. Follow this up right away with a Green Drink. Then start the rest of your eating for the day.
You can get the salt online or possibly at your chiropractor: http://www.himalayancrystalsalt.com/

4. Greens Supplement (or fresh, live juice)
Ideally, I would recommend that you start your day with live, fresh vegetable juice which contains a variety of fresh vegetables and bunch of wheatgrass (which is superfood). If you don't have a juicer, or don't want to spend the time or effort juicing every morning, then a high quality greens supplement is next on the list.
I've tried a couple and the ones I like the best are:

- Barleans: Greens

- Amazing Grass: Greens - Super Food

4. Vitamin D :
The most active form of Vitamin D is D3 (Cholecaliferol) which is synthesised in the skin in response to exposure to the sun's UV rays. The best alternative to sunlight is a good, high quality tanning bed - about 15 mins a day will do it. If you don't have access to a tanning bed, I suggest a good cod liver oil. I use the Barlean's brand for this too, when i feel I'm not getting enough sun: http://www.barleans.com/fishoil.asp

5. Excercise types
There are 2 goals here in terms of holiday workouts:
a. Make use of the extra calories
b. OR burn as many of the extra calories as possible
c. BOTH.
How do we do this?
If you know that on some evening you are planning to attend a holiday dinner where not partaking in the eating would be rude, then earlier in the day, do a relatively large, full body or multiple body part, bodybuilding routine. This will cause siginificant muscle stress and the extra calories you eat will be used to grow you new muscle.

Secondly, if we know were are eating more food than usual, the goal is to re-balance the caloric flux a good way to do this is cardio! yup.... good old cardio - 30-60 mins of steady state work at the high end of the "cardio" or aerobic zone. around 160 - 180 HR for most people. This will acheive 2 things:

i. it will burn off hte sugar and glycogen in your system from the last large meal, which allows more of the next large meal to be stored as glycogen as opposed to fat
ii. It will burn off some fat :)

High intensity workouts are highly acidic to the body and this is a condition we want to avoid, especially at this time of the year. That said, if you are a strong beleiver in HIT workouts, like crossfit, choose workouts that are long enough to produce a nice total calorie burn. This will depend on volume, so in pick something that you know will take YOU around 30 mins to complete and leave you in a pool of sweat.

6. Optional for Athletes: Glutamine at night or Pre-workout (5-10 g)
Glutamine is an amazing supplement and you can research more on glutamine to see why it's so good for you. Reasons for including it here:

i. Glutamine has an effect on intracellular hydration: certain amino acids such as glutamine require a sodium ion-dependent pump in order to get into cells. Cellular hydration works mostly via osmosis and concentration gradients, so when a cell needs glutamine, then the "solution" inside the cell needs to more dilute (higher water concentration) in order for there to be a flow of ions and amino acids from outside a cell to the inside of a cell. So in order for the body to get the gluatmine into the cells, it needs to hydrate the cells first.

ii. Glutamine has an alkalizing effect on the body: When the body is acidic, there are bunch of hydrogen ions (H+) floating around in the blood. Glutamine binds to these ions to create ammonium which is then excreted from the body, thus reducing the overall acidity of the body.

You can get most of the products mentioned above in your local supplement store, whole foods or online. If you are getting any of the Barleans' products, let me know, i might be able to get them for you at a discount, I personally know one of the Barleans very well :)

Have a fabulous holiday season! Alkalize, Energize and Thrive!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Which Protein Powder should I take?

Recently I friend of mine came
to me with following question: “which protein powder should I take?”

The first answer that came to my head was “ just buy any whey protein that you like the taste of”…. But then I realized I wasn’t doing the question justice and part of me was simply resisting
the urge to give away “free information” that I would usually charge a consultation fee for…. well if you are reading this, then consider that you have save yourself my consultation fee

There’s a astounding variety of protein powders on the market today, from vanilla brown rice protein, to Goatien (protein from goats milk), to pea protein to everyone’s favorite – Whey (protein isolate or protein concentrate).

Here’s a basic approach to figure out if you need a protein supplement, how much, how often and how you will incorporate it into your routine. I will then go over some recommendations based on personal experience.

1. Figure out how much protein you are already eating per day and how much you

Your protein requirements will be based on your activity level and the kind of activity you are doing. In general for the average recreational athlete, I have found that lean body weight in pounds divided by 2 in grams is just about adequate. Ie if you are a male, around 170 lbs,
15% Body fat, then your Lean Body Mass (LBM) is about 154 lbs, so approximately
75 grams of protein spread across 4 to 5 meals is enough. If you are lifting weights
a couple of times a week and hoping to see some physique changes, then about twice
that amount is a good baseline – ie. 1 gram per pound body weight, divided across
5-6 meals.

2. Supplementing with a powder

It’s often hard to get a good quality source of protein at every “feeding” and this is where the protein supplement comes in. It’s super convenient, usually has highly bioavailable protein and you get it without the added carbs and fat. Most protein powders have a “serving size” that’s around 20-25g of protein per serving or scoop. You can alter this based on the number of meals you are supplementing and/or your total desired intake.

3. Which type?
An in depth analysis of the different
types of protein is out of scope for this blog entry, so I’ll briefly cover the
major categories:

You can categorize protein powders
in a number of ways and I recommend going to

to take a look at the range of offerings.

So if you determine that you need
some supplementation, then whey is definitely a versatile option, as are a number
of powders out there that fall into the “meal replacement” category. The latter
are great because you can simply add water and have a completely balanced meal ready
to go within seconds.

4. When do I take it and how much?

A meal replacement type powder is ideal for when you are pressed for time and need to squeeze in a meal or for breakfast. If you have time and a blender, you can add some berries, coconut milk, peanut butter and stuff to whey powder to make some amazing, balanced smoothies.
Email me for some recipes!

Within 45 mins of finishing your
workout (the sooner the better) is the optimal time to take your whey supplement.
Depending on whether your goal is to bulk up or lean out, you can add some Carbs
to your post workout shake. There are couple of great ready to go post workout mixes
available, ones I recommend are Advocare’s “Post Workout Recovery” and Biotest’s

Or you can Add some form of carbohydrate powder ( I recommend Waxy Maize Starch, such as “Carb Slam”) to your whey.

In both the meal replacement and post workout scenarios, calculate the shake as a “meal” and decide on the protein content accordingly.

5. Listen to your body

If you are working out hard and you are constantly sore, it might be time to re-evaluate your protein needs and do some tweaking. Another scenario is that you’ve been working out consistently, but you’re not seeing any progress, one reason could your protein intake relative
to your activity levels. There are a couple of other reasons that we hit plateaus, including lifestyle changes, training intensity, periodization and more…. Call me to set up a time for a consultation if you’re “on the plateau” and let’s break through it!

6. Brand recommendations:

7. Where do I get it from?

For bulk orders I generally buy from BodyBuilding.com, or TSN nutrition (search for the website)

For one of things, I prefer Seattle Super Supplements or Whole Foods. Seattle Super supplements has a great variety and usually a knowledgable person on staff to help with general product related questions.

8. Caution: You get what you pay for

This is good rule for the majority of supplements out there unless you have experimented sufficiently to find out what works for your body and what doesn’t. Also, it’s easier to save money if you buy the “raw materials” for concocting your own shakes, but this can prove to be supremely inconvenient at times. I caution you to not buy the cheapest product available, there’s probably a reason it’s so cheap. Lastly, please don’t buy garbage supplements from your neighborhood drug store, supermarket or Costco. Again, this discussion is out of scope for this article.

9. Further reading:


Train Hard!
Eat Well! Supplement Smart!

Friday, August 01, 2008

Strongman supplement regimen

Tomorrow is Mount Rainier's Strongest man 3!!!

I've been training 6 weeks for this and i can't believe that tomorrow is the big day. The training has been great on the most part and I'm excited to see what tomorrow will bring.

a couple of you have asked me about my nutrition and product regimen that I'm using at the moment, so here is a listing of my daily routine for your perusal:

wake up and on an empty stomach:
16 oz water + 1/4 tsp himalayan crystal salt
2 probiotic restore (Advocare)
2-3 proteolytic enzyme blends (flex Zyme by jarrow, 10Zymes, W-Zyme and/or straight up serrapeptidase)
1000mg of tribulus (only right now due to heavy training)
500mg lysine
4oz of Aloe Vera Juice

With breakfast:
3 OmegaPlex (Advocare) 300EPA/200DHA per softgel
mon/Wed/fri - 1000mg Borage oil (NOW)
400IU Vit E (country LIfe)
1000mg Vit C (Buffered blend by Solaray)
1 coreplex (multi by advocare - serving is 3, but I take one now and one later)
3000mg MSM (Jarrow or source naturals) - taking now as per your recommendation
2 Fruit and vegetable blend (Advocare)
250mg Calcium citrate (KAL)
Tu/Fri (5g Methly B12 by Jarrow)
1 Meal time Digestive enzyme (Enzymatic therapy) - only if breakfast is heavy
1 Joint Builder (Jarrow) contains 1500mg Glucosamine Sulfate and 500mg MSM per 2 tabs
30mg Coenzyme Q10 (Jarrow Q-sorb)

Pre workout:

*Muscle Fuel (Advocare)
spark (on cardio days)

during workout:
10g glutamine -SR (MHP)
2g kre-alkalyne ester (SCi fit)
15g BCAA blend (Sci fit)
1/2 serving rehydrate (Advocare)
1/2 serving Spark (advocare)
5g of D-ribose (NOW) - if doing a metabolic workout

Post workout:
1 serving Post Workout recovery shake (Adovcare)
1 scoop (23g protein) of whey protein (brand varies)

With dinner:
same as with brekfast MINUS
vit E
coenzyme Q 10
borage oil if applicable
methyl B12 if applicable

Before Bed on an empty stomach:
*3 Night Time Recovery (Advocare)
5-10g Glutamine SR (MHP)
2 Omegaplex
2 tabs of BCAA (Twinlab)
same enzyme blend as morning
1/2 serving rehydrate (Advocare)
3-5g GABA (Dymatize)
4oz of Aloe Vera Juice

~ 18 "zone blocks"
which means calories will break down to approx:
`2200 Cals in a 40:30:30 Carb:Protien:fat ratio
carbs are from fruit, yams/rice and post workout shake
protien from meat and whey
fat from coconut oil, almond butter, sunflower butter and some from meat

Saturday, March 15, 2008

The Slight Edge

About a year ago, I was gifted a book call the "Slight Edge" by Jeff Olson. It's a quick and short read, but very impactful when I absorbed and implemented the information it contained.

The idea behind the slight edge is the principal of compounding and how baby steps compound over time to become something profound.

many a time, people will tell me; "gosh you must workout a lot! How do you find the time ?"

well, I don't workout a lot, I just work out consistently, it's a part of my life, just like eating and sleeping (which I don't do enough of).

I remember being back in High school and being able to cram for an exam the night before and end up with stellar grades. Sadly, fitness doesn't work the same way, trust me, I've tried.... I've tried gaining a whole bunch of muscle in a short time and I got fat and injured myself, I tried losing a couple of pounds of fat in a short time and I got smaller, probably lost some muscle and probably retained the same amount of fat percentage wise. There are some caveats here, I can teach you to lose all subcutaneous water in a matter of days and make you look better right away, but it will take a toll on your body.

Basically, your body doesn't like to change, it needs to be shocked consistently and be forced to operate a higher level. Every time you change something around in your diet, exercise or lifestyle you physiology can change positively or negatively.

Small changes don't show up for a while though, since the Body resists them. A couple of small changes over time show up faster. For example, cutting 300 cals and keeping all else constant should result in approximately a pound of weight loss every 2 weeks or so. Thankfully however, going out for dinner and eating 1000 calories via creamy pasta, bread, steak, wine and chocolate cake, won't result in a 2 pound fat gain overnight.. YAY.

Many a time, people wait around for the "best time" to start working out. They psyche up for a month, then go all out the first day in the gym. Then they are sore for a week, don't work out and spend another month psyching up. A better approcah is to slight edge it....

hit the gym or your favorite activity and go for half the class or less, go back again the next day and add more time.
With weight training, reduce the weight or reduce the total reps and sets, then build up to what would be ideal for your goal.

As one gets more conditioned, the same princial applies. For example, i do not spend more time in the gym, what I do is ensure that every time I hit the gym, I'm lifting a little more than last time, either a little more weight or a rep or two more.

This is called Escalating Density Training. You keep the time of the given workout constant, but continually increase the amount of work that you do in the time interval as you become more conditioned. Of course this does not apply for athletes training for endurance events which require longer duration training sessions.

So, moral of the story, start whatever it is you are going to start TODAY. Just to a little and then do more the next time :)

Don't diet.... fix one thing at a time, do it 21 times and the fix another, this is one of the principals behind why Advocare's Commit2Fit program is so effective.

EDT: http://www.t-nation.com/readTopic.do?id=459765

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

how toxic are you?

Cancer is a new disease, so are diabetes, syndrome X, "heart disease" and host of other impediments that did not exist 1000 or so years ago.

Free Radicals, rancid fats, undigestable foods, irradiated foods, preservatives, artificial sweeteners and other toxic substances are prevalent in everywhere in our daily lives, from the toothpastes we use to the grass fed beef we think we are eating that is serving us.

Our skin is our largest organ, and it will pretty much start to absorb anything it comes in contact with, eventually some of that "stuff" will enter our body and our circulation. That said, isn't it interesting to see how many cosmetic products on the market today that are meant to be applied to the skin are not supposed to be consumed by mouth? What got me thinking about this was an excerpt I read from an upcoming book by Myra Mychelle Eby, founder of Mychelle dermaceuticals(www.mychelleusa.com). She brings the point to the table that we should be able to eat anything that we are going to put on the body - the sking, hair etc.
There is a host of "toxic" ingredients used by the cosmetic industry, some of the more problematic ones are EDTA, parabens and propylene glycol.

let's take a deeper look at one of them: parabens.
more info here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parabens

basically anything that starts with a methyl, ethyl, propyl etc, these are "esters" of para-hydroxybenzoic acid. I'll save you the chemistry and get down to the problem.
These substances when rubbed onto your body have an estrogenic effect - they disrupt your endocrine system, more estrogen in your body will mean it will be harder for you to lose body fat, get pregnant as well as a host of other issues.

Environmental hazards....
There's a whole bunch of chemicals in your laundry detergents, dishwashing soap, carpets, car seats, etc etc. Now, we can argue that the effects of these chemicals is neglible in the big picture, but think about about the fact that for most hours of the day you are in contact with some for of clothing. Now think about the phosphates and other harsh chemicals in the detergent and maybe the dryer paper that are now sitting around on your clothing, which is touching your skin all day long.

Plastics we might eat from:
I know very vey few people who don't consume hot subtances from some type of disposable container. On occasion, when I get my grilled chicken breast for lunch, if there was cheese on it, I have often experienced the hot cheese burning holes in my styrofoam plate. Thankfully on the most part I have mitigated that problem either by placing the hot chicken on a bed of lettuce or eating the chicken at the salad bar. What about all that coffee and tea that is drunk from disposable plastic or paper cups?
FYI - starbucks: http://www.dispatch.com/live/content/local_news/stories/2007/09/17/starbucks.ART_ART_09-17-07_A1_IF7U38O.html?sid=101
Even with most cups that appear to be paper based, there is a plastic (usually) polyethylene lining on the cup.

If you are heating a bunch of food up in your favorite plastic tupperware.... you're really asking for it, especially if the food is higher in fat.
The heat and fat litterly absorb checmicals into the food which you then ingest. Let's say per serving of tupperware-heated food we can add 3-5 points on the toxic scale.

Most other food packaging materials will leach some toxicity into you food, how much will be a function of the food, the temperature and the material used.

Now we get to the fun part... food that we cook...
If you aren't already eating "certified organic" then you really should, think of the extra cost as health insurance. There have been tales of conventional fruits and veggies, irradiated and frozen for up to year until the distributor decides they are in season and they appear in the grocery store.

So anyway, let's take a couple of conventionaly veggies for example. most likely,they have been genetically modified to look more colorful and lucious, had artificual nitrogen based fertilizers added to the soil to speed up the growth cycle, been sprayed with herbicides, pesticides, fungicides to ensure that little creatures don't get to it before you do, then possibly waxed to give it a slight shine.

Now you buy said veggies and take them home, slice them up, put a table spoon of olive oil in a pan and sautee them with some herbs or whatever.

What you think: "I'm getting a healthy seving of fresh veggies"

What is really going on:
unless you really washed the veggies real good before you cooked it, you are now mutating the toxins even more into a bunch of different substances. Then if you are cooking on your trusty non stick pan, there's some toxicity from the teflon coating on the pan that will enter your food.
Remember also that due to the fact that the veggies are probably not fresh, the enzymatic activity is really low, meaning it will put a higher than necessary burden on your pancreas and other digestive organs to produce extra enzymes to digest and absorb the food.

And that's just from a little veggie, imagine how burdened and toxic your digestive system must get from conventional cooked meat full of hormones and antibiotics?

the problem is that the effects from toxicity do not occur overnight, it might take some months to develop some heartburn or become "intolerant" to something and then slowly as your body is degenerating at a cellular level, free radicals are bombarding you and causing mutations until you reach a point that the body capcity to fight off the free radicals is compromised enough to cause a mutation that will result in one of a bunch of degenerative, auto-immune or life threatening diseases.

A couple of nuggets that might help, most of which are common sense:
- eat organic as much as possible.
- use natural products on yourself and everything you will in contact with, check out Mychelle, Melaleuca and seventh generation
- cook food as little a possible
- take an enzyme blend, preferably from enrichinggifts.com
- take a bunch of anti-oxidants everyday, I take about 2-3g of Vit C, 800IU of Vit E, some grapeseed extract and some greens supplements. (this is probably the most important since you are continually being bombarded by radicals)
- use sunscreen.... unfortunately the ozone layer is damaged and the suns rays are not as therapeutic as you may think.
- Use an internal "cleansing" product every couple of months
- purify your water with a filter before drinking and drink your bodyweight in pounds divided by two in ounces everyday to wash soluble toxins out.